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New Contemporaries to return to Camden Art Centre. - FAD Magazine

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FAD Magazine covers contemporary art – News, Exhibitions and Interviews reported on from London

New Contemporaries to return to Camden Art Centre.

Rene Matic, Brown Girl in the Art World III, 2018, Moving Image, Image courtesy the artist and New Contemporaries

New Contemporaries is set to return to Camden Art Centre after more than 20 years.

Bloomberg New Contemporaries features 55 of the most exciting artists emerging from UK art schools and alternative peer-to-peer learning programmes, selected by internationally renowned artists Helen Cammock, Sunil Gupta and Heather Phillipson

The resulting exhibition offers a distinctive snapshot of current artistic concerns and approaches spanning a breadth of disciplines and presents an important picture of emerging artistic practices: taking the pulse of contemporary art and the urgent lived concerns that are driving artists in the UK today. It is a unique platform that provides emerging artists, many of whom live outside London, the opportunity to present their work to a wider audience, alongside a programme of artist development opportunities to support the growth of their practice. 

The selected artists for Bloomberg New Contemporaries are: Savanna Achampong, Bunmi Agusto, Ahaad Alamoudi, Adama Dercilia Bari, Alexandra Beteeva, Cai Arfon Bellis, Matthew Burdis, Thomas Cameron, Yingming Chen, Helen Clarke, Sarah Cleary, Alannah Cyan, Nina Davies, James Dearlove, Harriet Gillett, Haneen Hadiy, Joseph Ijoyemi, Jennifer Jones, Bessie Kirkham, Noa Klagsbald, Iga Koncka, Emily Kraus, Margaret (Weiyi) Liang, Harry Luxton, Ranny Macdonald, Jil Mandeng, Anne McCloy, Phyllis McGowan, SAM (Ayrton Mendes), Zayd Menk, Efrat Merin, Rhys Morgan, Joe Moss, Lili Murphy-Johnson, Elena Njoabuzia Onwochei-Garcia, Abi Palmer, Emerson Pullman, Harmeet Rahal, Daniel Rey, Alicja Rogalska, Luke Anthony Rooney, Jeremy Scott, Holly Sezer, Emma Sheehy, Charan Singh, Jame St Findlay, Korallia Stergides, Samuel Thompson-Plant, Jiayi Wang, Sidney Westenskow, Georg Wilson, Joshua Woolford, Hester Yang, Osman Yousefzada and Samuel Zhang. 

Themes explored in the exhibition include care, kinship, collectivity, climate justice, world-building, geographical borders, and identity politics. Through costume, textiles, performance, moving image and painting artists including Savanna Achampong, Bunmi Agusto and Jame St Findlay navigate embodied identities and reflect on their lived experience through fantasy and dream. Melodrama, cliché, the surreal and cinematic devices also inform many of the artists’ approaches. Fact, fiction, and memory are blurred and reinvented in the works of Jennifer Jones, Matthew Burdis and Elena Njoabuzia Onwochei-Garcia while identity is explored through familial, romantic, and non-human relationships and systemic ableism is probed at in various approaches by Korallia Stergides, Charan Singh and Ranny Macdonald. Pagan rituals and the use of sacred symbols are enacted through the works of Iga Koncka, Osman Yousefzada and Sarah Cleary as forms of care or protection. The complex matrix of geographies, borders, environmentalism, the natural environment, racialised oppression and socio-political structures intersect in many of the artists’ works including Hester Yang, Harmeet Rahal and Samuel Zhang that draw from archival materials and first-hand research and experience. Agriculture and extractivism are interrogated through the works of Helen Clarke Joseph Ijoyemi and Haneen Hadiy in a consideration of our dependence upon and abuse of the land and the planet’s resources. 

New Contemporaries is thrilled to return to Camden Art Centre who shares a deep commitment to supporting emerging artists. Fifty years since our initial collaboration marks a great history of championing artists for both organisations. The cultural landscape has changed enormously in that time, and we know our platform is more vital than ever. We look forward to connecting the urgent voices of emerging artists today with new audiences in London.

Kiera Blakey, Director of New Contemporaries

New Contemporaries has been supporting emerging and early-career artists from established and alternative art programmes since 1949. It has provided development opportunities for artists, helping them to successfully transition from education into more established pathways. 

Camden Art Centre presented previous New Contemporaries exhibitions in 1974, ’75, ’94, ’96, ’97, ’98, and 2001. Over those years, the exhibitions were selected by Michael Craig-Martin (1975); Rachel Whiteread (1994); Mark Wallinger (1996); Gillian Wearing (1997); Phyllida Barlow (1998) and Chris Ofili (2001), and included artists that have gone on to further acclaim, including Eileen Cooper (1975); Chantal Joffe (1996); George Shaw (1998); Ana Genoves (1997); Harold Offeh, Sophie von Hellermann, Michelle Williams Gamaker and Conrad Shawcross (2001). 

New Contemporaries has produced a digital platform to complement the exhibition which includes all of the artists’ works alongside newly commissioned texts by early-career writers, providing an opportunity to delve into each artist’s practice. This platform is available to view at: platform.newcontemporaries.org.uk. As well as taking part in the exhibition, the artists will have access to a range of mentoring and learning opportunities through New Contemporaries’ bespoke Bridget Riley Artist Development Programme. 

Participants for the annual, open exhibition are selected by a panel comprising influential artists often including those who have previously been a part of New Contemporaries. Remaining responsive to the radical movements of contemporary art, New Contemporaries offers artists mentoring, residencies, bursaries, fellowships, commissioning and programming opportunities with its extensive network of partners. 

Commenting on selecting these artists at a pivotal moment in their practice, Heather Phillipson said,

As a selector for New Contemporaries, you gain access to a unique overview of current art education and what graduates are making, which is really a glimpse into the minds of the next generation. It’s a strange privilege to see so much work and the shared tactics and concerns emerging from it. It felt like receiving a whole other kind of news – reminding you that however bleak the news, making is always an affirmative action.

Bloomberg New Contemporaries, 19th January to 31st March 2024, Camden Art Centre

Bloomberg New Contemporaries launched at Grundy Art Gallery, from 30th September to 16th December 2023

New Contemporaries Selectors 

Helen Cammock uses film, photography, print, text, song and performance to examine mainstream historical and contemporary narratives about Blackness, womanhood, oppression and resistance, wealth and power, poverty and vulnerability. Her works often cut across time and geography, layering multiple voices as she investigates the cyclical nature of histories in her visual and aural assemblages. In 2017, Cammock won the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, and in 2019 was the joint recipient of The Turner Prize. She has exhibited and performed worldwide including recent solo shows at the Whitechapel Gallery, The Photographer’s Gallery and Serpentine Galleries (London), STUK Art Centre (Leuven); Collezione Maramotti (Reggio Emilia); VOID (Derry/ Londonderry); the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin); Kestner Gesellshaft (Hannover) and Hamburger Kunstalle (Hamburg). She has three upcoming solo shows Art + Practice (Los Angeles), Amant (New York) and Oakville Galleries (Toronto). 

Sunil Gupta (New Contemporaries alumnus 1983) has been involved with independent photography as a critical practice for many years focusing on race, migration and queer issues. A retrospective was shown at The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2020-21) and has moved to The Image Center, Toronto. He is a Professorial Fellow at UCA, Farnham. His latest book is ‘We Were Here: Sexuality, Photography, and Cultural Difference, Selected Writings by Sunil Gupta (2022) and his current exhibitions include ‘Sunil Gupta: Songs of Deliverance, Part I and Part II’, Hammersmith Hospital, London. His work is in many private and public collections including Tokyo Museum of Photography; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Metropolitan, Museum of Art, New York; Royal Ontario Museum, Tate and the Museum of Modern Art. His work is represented by Hales Gallery (New York, London), Materià Gallery (Rome), Stephen Bulger Gallery (Toronto) and Vadehra Art Gallery (New Delhi). 

Heather Phillipson (New Contemporaries alumnus 2008) works in a variety of media including video, sculpture, music, large-scale installations, online works, text and drawing. Recent solo exhibitions include Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries commission, London (2021-22); the Fourth Plinth commission, Trafalgar Square (2020-22); Almost Gone – an audio collage for BBC Radio 3 (2020), and major commissions for BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2018) and Art on the Underground’s flagship site at Gloucester Road underground station (2018). Recent group exhibitions include British Art Show 9 (UK, touring); Shanghai Biennale, China (2021); Garden of Earthly Delights, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (2019) and Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2019). Phillipson was nominated for the Turner Prize 2022 and received the Film London Jarman Award in 2016 and the European Short Film Festival selection from the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2018. She is also an award-winning poet. In 2023 she will produce a new commission for the Imperial War Museum in partnership with Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea. 

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